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Last Updated on August 23, 2018

What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely

What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely

If you have no friends, it feels like you’ll be lonely for life and it’s likely to say “I have no friends at all.”

Of course, that’s not true.

You can still make new friends even if you find yourself in a situation with no friend in sight. This happens when you move to a new city, break up with someone that was your only friend and lover, or make important changes in your lifestyle.

Here are important steps that can take you from being lonely to having the friends you want.

Understand Loneliness and Shyness

Loneliness and shyness can cause misunderstanding and misinterpreted feelings. Understanding the right meanings of loneliness and shyness is the key to overcoming them.

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Loneliness, for instance, is nothing more than a signal your body generates when you’re not experiencing any social connection. It signals to you that the need for social connection is as important as eating or drinking.

If you misunderstand the state of loneliness, you could get stuck in it for no reason whatsoever, especially when you have no friends and don’t know how to deal with it.

Shyness, on the other hand, is the fear of social criticism. Let me say that again: It’s the fear of social criticism.

In other words, shyness is just the fear of something that might happen, but probably won’t.

If you misunderstand shyness and therefore hide or withdraw from people, they will most likely interpret that as you rejecting them.

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Even if your intentions are good and you are just avoiding rejection out of shyness, people can misunderstand those actions as an insult to their value. This can make them think you are snobbish or conceited, and they will, in turn, start rejecting you.

Master Conversation and Social Skills

Conversation is the blood vein of social connection. If you master it, you’ll get all the friends and influence you want.

One important factor is the ability to keep a conversation going. In order to do this, you need to learn to get interested in others and ask them questions about themselves.

You also want find a way to connect with and speak intelligently to the topic of conversation. Finding that common ground in conversation is what guarantees that people will want to spend more time in your company.

If you look for more useful ways to improve your social skills, check out this article:

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12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime

Learn to Make Friends and Build Your Social Circle

The first thing to know about making friends is that it is a skill. It’s not something you’re born with, as many people like to believe.

Making friends is not a magical ability that only a few have. It is a learned skill. Most of us learned how to make friends when we were little but many of us need to learn the new skill of making friends as adults.

To do that, you need to find groups of people that meet up regularly and have interests that are similar to your own. You also need to learn how to find commonalities with these people beyond that first common interest in order to turn your new acquaintances into friends.

If you feel like you are bonding with an individual, meet up with them once or twice in a social setting. If all goes well, you should meet up with them regularly in order to maintain and strengthen the bond.

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Final thoughts

These are all skills that you can learn how to do. It’s not that complicated when you know how. You can keep making good friends no matter what your age is.

After you have made a few friends, the next step is to introduce them to each other. If you do that, you will arrive at what we call a social circle: a nice circle of friends that works with you in making plans, introduces new people into the group, and creates amazing experiences that you will enjoy together.

Once you have a nice circle of friends, you’re no longer the only one trying to improve your social life. Your close friends will help you out with it, too!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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